Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge News
Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge

News from Frances Lake






#28 - Review 2016:

Dear Friends and Guests

2016 was characterized by a very early and warm spring and summer. After the mild winter the ice on Frances Lake was out three weeks earlier than usual. Accordingly, the vegetation sprouted earlier and the pleasant summer weather had a strong impact on the growing cycle: flowers, berries and fruits, as well as fall colours – everything came a few weeks earlier than normal. Also mosquitoes weren’t much of an issue this year and soon disappeared again. The early spring and the nice, pleasant summer were a real treat.

Midsummer at Frances Lake Paddling in the East Arm Evening light above the lodge


«But I don’t wanna leave from here!»


These were the plain words of 8-year-old Wilko from Toronto at the end of the vacation at our lodge. During the past season several families spent their holidays with us in the Yukon wilderness. Many children and teenagers enjoyed the unique experience and the unlimited freedom which nature offers out here and they could easily entertain themselves, even without a smartphone. And of course also their parents could benefit from having more time for themselves. Thus, all our guests experienced their own magical moments, be it while building a raft, going for a sunset stroll around the lodge, on an adventurous canoe trip, watching animals or losing track of time while angling. The joy is well reflected by various guest book entries and emails:

«Notre séjour à Frances Lake restera la plus belle étape de notre voyage et c'est
grâce à vous que l'envie de revenir est déjà dans nos projets.»
(Annick & Laurent)


«These were incredibly beautiful, interesting, diversified, relaxing and informative vacations which we can highly recommend to anyone!»
(Monika & Stefan)


Enjoying the self-made raft Family walk Moose encounter

One day, on a balmy summer evening, we received an exclusive visit. In the last beam of sunlight a magnificent lynx came strolling along the shoreline towards our lodge. After thoroughly scanning our place – and growing suspicious of all the observers, boats and cabins around – eventually it disappeared in the bush, becoming instantly invisible. On other occasions, twice we had black bears swimming across the bay in front of the lodge, very determined but apparently undeterred by our lodge operation. Also, memorable events were the cheeky river otters patrolling the shallow waters near the lodge chasing small fish around our boats.

Elusive lynx Inquisitive river otter Nosy black bear

Before and after our summer guest season, as usual we carried out various pending renewal and renovation works. Notably replacing the roof of the main lodge will be well remembered. Transporting and working with the heavy roofing material was physically exhausting and because of the changeable weather and the fast approaching guest season we were pressed for time. Immediately noticeable for guests is the new floor in the main lodge and the newly installed lighting in the guest cabins. Thanks to new 12 volt LED lamps and solar-powered batteries our guests will now enjoy a warm, soft light in their log cabins. The first users this fall appreciated this moderate technical upgrade and the achieved additional comfort very much.

New floor in the main lodge Replacing the roof on the main lodge Electrical light in a guest cabin


Ed Festel in front of the lodge (1988)It is with much sadness that we have to announce the passing away of Ed Festel, the founder of Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge. On August 25, 2016, aged 64, he died of multiple myeloma. Originally from Berne (Switzerland), Ed lived an adventurous career leading fellow outdoors folks through the mountains of Europe, Asia and the Americas. In 1985 he immigrated to Canada and settled in his beloved Yukon Territory where he founded Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge and Nature Tours of Yukon. Later he operated the River View Hotel in Whitehorse and served on the board of the Tourism Association of the Yukon. Beside tourism, aviation was a large part of Ed’s life and he was an excellent aviator. When he finally retired to Penticton (B.C.) in 2010 he became a stalwart member of the Penticton Flying Club. Ed had an awesome ability to organize and motivate and we are very grateful for his pioneering endeavours for wilderness tourism in general, and for the establishment of Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge in particular. Without him, this magnificent place would likely not exist.

Slide Show Thomas SbampatoDuring winter 2016/17 famous photographer Thomas Sbampato will be touring Germany, Austria and Switzerland with his latest slide show “Canada Alaska – North of Normal». Last year Sbampato was visiting our lodge and his awesome imagery and video cuts from Frances Lake can now be seen in his impressive “best of show” on large screen. On all shows in Switzerland in January 2017 we’ll be personally present and look forward to meet familiar and new Canada fans. The current show list is available here.

As usual, in late January we’ll also present our lodge at the Swiss travel trade show FESPO in Zurich. Already now our full lodge and tour program 2017 is online. Next season – our tenth – is already well booked. So if you’re interested in coming, please contact us early to avoid disappointment.


Kind regards and have a nice winter,

Andrea & Martin Laternser


Indian summer at Frances Lake East Arm


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